So-called “soft” drinks make an indisputable “hard” contribution to obesity. Packed with mega-calories, primarily in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, soft drinks are responsible for packing on the pounds of growing numbers of overweight and obese Americans, and especially kids. (According to one Centers for Disease Control survey, fully one-quarter of kids’ daily calories come from added sweeteners.) Curbing sweet-drink consumption, most liklely through a combination of education and regulation, is one key to a much-needed prevention approach to obesity and the myriad chronic diseases associated with it.
So it’s good news that health advocates and public health officials from cities across the country (none in Mississippi, unfortunately), led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to limit sweeteners in sodas and other beverages.
Behemoth beverage manufacturers like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are feeling the heat and hope to stay on the positive side of public opinion by emphazising their own efforts to develop new sweeteners and health-related products and packaging. That too may be good news if they are sincere, and not just trying to sweet-talk their way out of culpability for perhaps “the” greatest health threat the nation knows.